Compare Humalog vs. Actos

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Humalog
(insulin lispro)

Actos
(pioglitazone)

Lowers blood sugar. Humalog is a fast-acting insulin that provides meal-time sugar control. It can cause low blood sugar, so make sure you know what the symptoms are and always have a source of sugar nearby.Lowers blood sugar. Actos (pioglitazone) can improve blood sugar control but is not a top choice since it has a lot of side effects.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.07Humalog
Reviews for Humalog
64%
of people (All ages) say Humalog is worth it
50%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
280 reviews
Have you used Humalog (insulin lispro)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Actos
42%
+22% better vs. Humalog
30%
+20% better vs. Humalog
21%
+5% better vs. Humalog
175 reviews
Have you used Actos (pioglitazone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
HumalogActos
  • Flu syndrome 35%
  • Sore throat 33%
  • Headache 30%
  • Inflammation inside the nose 25%
  • Pain 20%
  • Cough increased 17%
  • Infection 14%
  • Accidental injury 9%
  • Diarrhea 9%
  • Muscle weakness 7%
More Humalog side effects »
  • Swelling 11%
  • Low blood sugar 8%
  • Colds and flu 4%
  • Headache 2%
  • Heart failure 2%
  • Sinus infection 1%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Muscle pain 2%
More Actos side effects »
How it works
HumalogActos
Humalog is a short-acting insulin medicine for diabetes. It acts like the insulin that your body normally makes to process sugars and fats, and it keeps your blood sugar stable after meals.Actos (pioglitazone) is a thiazolidinedione that improves your body's ability to use insulin to lower your blood sugar.
Type of medication
HumalogActos
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
HumalogActos
  • Injection
  • Pill
Used for
HumalogActos
Risk factors for serious side effects
HumalogActos
  • Insulin dose too high
  • Use of other blood sugar lowering medicines
  • Poor injection techniques
  • Unstable kidney functions
  • Unstable liver functions
Detailed Humalog (insulin lispro) risks & warnings »
  • Heart failure
  • Current liver problems
  • History of bladder cancer
  • Women
Detailed Actos (pioglitazone) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Food
HumalogActos
  • Short-acting insulin good for blood sugar control around meal times.
  • Take once a day with or without food.
Kidneys and liver
HumalogActos
  • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
  • If you've had liver problems or damage in the past, talk to your doctor before starting Actos (pioglitazone), since there's a small chance that it can hurt your liver. Tell your doctor about any stomach pain that don't go away, dark urine, or yellowing of eyes/skin. Your doctor will check your liver regularly.
Weight
HumalogActos
  • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
  • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
  • Can cause weight gain, headache, and swelling from fluid build-up.
  • Can cause weight gain.
Upsides and benefits
HumalogActos
  • Insulin is the most effective blood sugar-lowering medicine. When used correctly, it'll lower blood sugar every time you use it and prevent the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
  • Humalog is a fast-acting insulin that provides sugar control after meals.
  • Dose can be easily adjusted to make a customized regimen that's tailored to your body.
  • Starting insulin early in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes can maintain your body's insulin-producing cells and slow down disease progression.
  • Okay to use even if you have liver or kidney problems, unlike most other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
  • Improves sugar control and lowers A1c levels by around 1%.
  • Easily taken by mouth as a once a day pill.
  • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs.
  • Rarely causes low blood sugar.
  • Lower the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Downsides and risks
HumalogActos
  • You have to take insulin by injection.
  • You have to check your blood sugar multiple times every day, usually before each meal.
  • Likely to cause moderate weight gain (around 4 to 6 pounds).
  • Higher risk of low blood sugar episodes than other kinds of diabetes medicines.
  • May take several weeks to lower blood sugar.
  • Can cause weight gain.
  • People with heart failure or history of bladder cancer shouldn't use this medicine.
  • Some people might get fluid accumulation (edema), from minor ankle swelling to fluid in lungs that makes it hard to breathe.
  • Raises the risk of bone fractures, especially for people who already have a risk for fractures.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
HumalogActos
  • Short-acting insulin good for blood sugar control around meal times.
  • Take 5 to 10 minutes before a meal. Effects last for 2-4 hours.
  • Can cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
  • Make sure you and your family know the symptoms of low blood sugar: sweating, shakiness, weakness, fast heartbeat, nervousness, headache, blurry vision, trouble thinking clearly, or passing out.
  • Always have a good source of sugar nearby for low blood sugar episodes.
  • Make sure you understand how to give yourself the injections.
  • When mixing with another insulin (such as insulin NPH), draw this insulin into the syringe first.
  • Don't shake the vial. Store unopened vials in the refrigerator. Opened vials are good at room temperature for 28 days.
  • Check your blood sugar levels every day.
  • Take once a day with or without food.
  • May need several weeks to see full effect on blood sugar control.
  • Can cause weight gain, headache, and swelling from fluid build-up.
  • Tell your doctor about any shortness of breath, heart troubles, or unusual swelling.
  • Not recommended for patients with a history of heart failure or bladder cancer.
  • Check your blood sugar regularly.
Learn more
More about HumalogSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Humalog (insulin lispro)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ActosSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Actos (pioglitazone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it